corksWe gathered at Scott and Wanda’s on a June evening. Most of the pandemic mandates had been lifted, and so many were thrilled to be out and socializing again. As always, Wanda was an extraordinary hostess, and Scott was visibly thrilled to welcome friends back into their lovely home.

The folks at Dry Creek Vineyard have been extraordinarily generous in providing wines, and we started off with their 2019 Block 10 Chardonnay. Eric, a Certified Specialist of Wine loved this, picking up pear, and green apple on the nose. He described it as nutty and toasty. Annette loved the color and picked up ripe peach and citrus. Wanda thought it was buttery and well-balanced. At $33, it scored better than four out of a possible five stars.

We crossed the pond for a quick stop in Italy to taste the 2020 Con Vento from Castello del Terriccio. A blend of Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, the overwhelming comment from the group was that it was overpriced at $45. Alex thought it was extremely food-friendly. Chris picked up apricots and citrus on the nose and hints of pineapple, peach, and mint on the palate. Eric described it as slightly perfumed, but too soft. David noted subtle fruit on both the nose and palate. It scored just about three and a half stars.

I recently met Pietro Buttitta, owner/winemaker at Prima Materia in Lake County. We tasted his non-vintage Refosco sourced from the 2017 and 2018 vintages. Aged in neutral French and Hungarian oak, Wanda enjoyed it describing it as bright and fruit-forward. David noted red and black fruit with cranberry and a slight tartness on the palate. Alex called it very good – smooth and dark. Chris enjoyed its deep color and called it full-bodied with hints of almonds, plums, and currants. Michael said the nose was wonderful, that it offered delightful spice and oak, and had a lingering finish. At $40, the group gave it nearly four stars.

We returned to Dry Creek to taste their 2019 Heritage Vines Zinfandel. With 15 months in American, Hungarian, and French oak,  Eric called the nose expressive with black fruit, cloves, perfume, anise, cherry skin, and raspberry. Lisa said the color was beautiful and she enjoyed the pepper finish and dark fruit. Ken called it “stealth Zin”, saying he liked it, but it didn’t strike him as Zinfandel. 18% Petite Sirah was blended in. It scored over four stars and it sells for a reasonable $26!

We proceeded to taste the 2019 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir from Merry Edwards winery. Cold soaked for 10 days, it spent nine months in 83% new French oak. This wine garnered several perfect five-star scores. Jan loves Pinot and called it lovely and well-balanced with a wonderful nose. Lisa called it her favorite of the night and loved the nose, its color, and its long finish. Eric said the nose was perfumed and gorgeous. Ken called it fabulous and velvety with cherry notes. Michael said it opened with flavor and had a soft, slow finish. At $80, no one complained about the price and the group awarded it four and a half stars.

We ended the tasting with the Double Diamond 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Chris gave it five stars, picking up black and blue fruits, with dark plum and chocolate and nutmeg notes. David liked its deep nose and called it smooth with a nice finish. Alex said it was very good with a specific taste. Annette enjoyed its depth of flavor and rich finish. Also $80, this wine scored nearly four and a half stars.